O'Brien's influence evident on 2012 Lions

November, 17, 2012
11/17/12
7:32
PM ET
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Offensive guard John Urschel rubbed his chin and just smiled at the questions Saturday afternoon.

How could Penn State lose 10 offensive starters in one offseason and somehow average 10 points more every game? How could Penn State set several offensive records Saturday with so many new starters?

Urschel, a man who often responds to news conference questions with, "Let me ponder that for a moment," didn't hesitate. He just smiled and said two words after the Nittany Lions toppled Indiana 45-22.

"Bill O'Brien."

He didn't need to say anymore. He didn't elaborate, didn't shrug. There was no more to add. O'Brien's been the coach this Penn State team has needed -- not just to bring the team together after the Jerry Sandusky scandal or past the sanctions. But to update an inefficient offense that seemed about as cutting-edge as a disco ball.

Penn State's just always been an old, throwback run-first team. Since the very beginning of its 126-year history.

Seven years before the topic of a forward pass was even broached -- before Penn State was known as the Nittany Lions -- Penn State ran. They ran when football first appeared live on fuzzy televisions. And they even ran the last time they had a first-round NFL quarterback in Kerry Collins.

They ran and ran until now. Until the Bill O'Brien era and the era of weekly changes.

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Josh Moyer | email

Penn State/Big Ten reporter

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